Early Prehistoric Archaeology of the Middle Susitna Valley, Alaska

Brian T. Wygal and Ted Goebel


The early prehistory of the Susitna River region, near the place where three major rivers, the Susitna, Talkeetna, and the Chulitna, converge, provides important regional information about the movement of small-scale foraging societies in southcentral Alaska as well as specific data concerning lithic use. Since 2004, ongoing research at the Trapper Creek Overlook (TCO) and Susitna River Overlook (SRO) sites has revealed three primarily lithic artifact assemblages from stratigraphically sealed cultural occupations spanning the early to middle Holocene (ca. 10,000–5000 cal B.P.). Radiocarbon, tephrochronology, and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating techniques provide context for interpreting these sites with a focus on geomorphic and stratigraphic contexts, geochronology, and lithic analyses. Results suggest an initial migration from the north and similarities between early and middle Holocene lithic industries in the period prior to the development of riverine salmon economies.

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